A little long... I took the short trip to Hollywood yesterday to hit the 5 or 6 stores on Sunset- GC, Sam Ash, Carvin, Mesa and a couple of locally owned others- to see if I "needed" anything. Played a Lakland USA JO 4 equipped with Darkstars that was pretty cool. Darkstars are interesting. To my ears they don't really create a tone, just sort of make your bass louder than it would be acoustically. That's not a jab. That's just what it sounded like to me, very transparent, woody and kind of airy and "hollow" sounding. Pretty cool. Anyway, I stopped in the Carvin store last and saw one of the new Icon models hanging from the wall and asked to plug it in. (It basically looked like the one on the web site.) I tweaked the knobs a bit, adjusted the tone and this thing began to smoke. The open strings were very focused with a tight piano like tone, all fretted notes sang very evenly up and down the fretboard, and the playability was just about perfect. I've snubbed my nose for awhile at Carvin but was very impressed. The build quality was flawless. The nicely contoured body was very light, thin, on the small side, and very comfortable while playing. While sitting, it balanced perfectly without any diving or sliding. And the neck just plain ol' rocked. I'm not sure if this neck and FB radius is spec'd on all Carvin's but on this instrument it was perfect. The neck was the most comfortable I've played, with just enough flatness on the FB and just enough roundness on the neck itself. Beautiful. The finish was very nice and the fretwork was very good- not quite as refined as the fretwork on the Lakland JO but still very good. It's tones ranged from very modern (as expected) to somewhat vintagey. The PU's sounded great together or soloed. It kinda reminded me of a Ken Smith/Peavey Cirrus/modern J type tone all mixed in. The electronics seemed much improved over Carvins I have played in the past, well balanced and very responsive. All this is unusual for me b/c I typically am attracted to more traditional types of instruments. I usually don't pay any attention to basses made from exotic woods, etc. But, I may soon have a change of heart. I only spent about 10 minutes with the bass and that is what I came up with. Just thought I'd pass the news to anyone who might be interested. And, no, I don't work for Carvin.